San Saba County
... Though Cheating Was Never an Option (Wagonmaker)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Nov. 28, 2008
San Saba County... Though Cheating Was Never an Option (Wagonmaker)
Austin's finally given birth to the who's next on its songwriter roots trail paved by kitchen-sink bands such as Shearwater, Okkervil River, and Li'l Cap'n Travis. With its third disc, ... Though Cheating Was Never an Option, San Saba County takes a giant step forward while never leaving its alt.country roots behind. "Nothing's quite right here," singer John Saba intones on "Stale House," and the lyric permeates the proceedings perfectly. One's never sure where the music will wind, whether it's mixing the forlorn with an incessant chug on "Train Song" – San Saba County obviously still kneels before the altar of Gram Parsons – or the banjo-led "Winter Solstice" incorporating a deep Southwestern twang like Calexico. Alt.country might be all but dead, but San Saba County lends it a breath of new life that's as surprising and tuneful as anything you'll hear locally or otherwise this year.